Tetramorium bicarinatum

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Tetramorium bicarinatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Tetramorium
Species group: bicarinatum
Species: T. bicarinatum
Binomial name
Tetramorium bicarinatum
(Nylander, 1846)

Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0005826 profile 1.jpg

Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0005826 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Common Name
Language: Japanese
Guinea Ant
Language: English

Tetramorium bicarinatum is one of the most successful, abundant, and widespread tramp species within the genus Tetramorium. It occurs in almost all tropical and subtropical habitats around the world, except for most of the Afrotropical, and also has been transferred to temperate countries where it can survive in constantly heated buildings (botanical gardens, zoos, etc.). The species is known to occur in most of the Oriental and Indo-Australian regions, including almost all Pacific island systems, the New World, Europe, the Malagasy region, and on several islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (Hita Garcia and Fisher 2011). It is found in grassland and areas of bare coastal soil in Japan, where it prefers more open and dryer situations than Tetramorium nipponense. Nests are found under stones and logs. (Japanese Ant Image Database)

At a Glance • Highly invasive  • Supercolonies  


Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) - A member of the T. bicarinatum species complex in the Tetramorium bicarinatum species group. Tetramorium bicarinatum can be well identified within the T. bicarinatum group in the Malagasy region because of its distinctly sculptured mandibles, rectangular nodiform petiolar node with antero- and posterodorsal angles at about the same height, and its characteristic bicolouration.

Keys including this Species


Worldwide throughout tropical and subtropical regions (widespread tramp species). It has been reported from the Mediterranean in the Iberian Peninsula (Reyes & Espadaler, 2005), Italy (Limonta et al., 2003), Montenegro (Petrov, 2008) and Morocco (Taheri et al., 2017) (see Gomez, 2017).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 29.281° to -10.476379°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cape Verde, Comoros, Eritrea, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Australasian Region: Australia, Lord Howe Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island.
Indo-Australian Region: American Samoa, Borneo, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Indonesia, Kiribati, Krakatau Islands, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Guinea, Niue, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Vanuatu.
Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Mayotte, Seychelles.
Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Aruba, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Galapagos Islands, Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago.
Oriental Region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Nicobar Island, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: Austria, Belgium, Canary Islands, China, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Israel, Japan, Malta, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey.

Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) - Its native range was originally thought to be in Africa by a number of authors (Creighton, 1950; Brown, 1957; Taylor & Wilson, 1961; Wilson & Taylor, 1967). Yet the species is not even native to the Afrotropical region, and is only known there from very few introductions (Bolton, 1979, 1980). It seems that the Afrotropical members of the T. bicarinatum group, all endemic to this region, have the ability to hinder the establishment of T. bicarinatum. Outside of Africa, in the Malagasy, Neotropical, and parts of the Palaearctic and Neartic regions, these T. bicarinatum group species are absent, and T. bicarinatum can set up stable populations. The situation is different in the Oriental and Indo-Australian regions because T. bicarinatum is widespread and common but the T. bicarinatum species group is also present with a number of species closely related to T. bicarinatum. This fact led Bolton (1977, 1979, 1980) to the conclusion that the native range of T. bicarinatum is most probably in South East Asia, from which it was anthropogenically transferred to the rest of its actual, immense distribution range. This view is supported by several authors (McGlynn, 1999; Deyrup, 2000; Astruc et al., 2001) and we concur with this opinion.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Regional Notes


Heterick (2009) - Common in Perth gardens and with a wide distribution throughout Australia. The range for this species given by Brown and Taylor (1985) is probably understated; e.g. I have seen T . bicarinatum in Port Augusta, SA, although this State is not listed by the former authors. Unlike some other exotic myrmicines in Australia, this species does not seem to adversely affect the native ant fauna.

Malagasy region

Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) - T. bicarinatum is almost surely not native to the Malagasy region and can be considered introduced. It is now a common species well-established in most of Eastern and Northern Madagascar, and also can be found in some tropical dry forest or gallery forest habitats in the western part of the country. It seems completely absent from the more arid Southwest and the High Plateau. In addition, T. bicarinatum can be commonly encountered on most of the surrounding islands, e.g. the Comoros, Mayotte, Seychelles, Reunion, and Mauritius.

Florida USA

A moderately common species occurring as far north and west as Walton county. Nests are usually in dead wood or hollow stems or under loose bark, usually at the edges of wet areas. This species is not particularly associated with disturbed habitats, and if it were not a notorious tropical tramp (Bolton 1979), one would never suspect from its ecology that this was an introduced species. Pest status: minor; known to occasionally enter houses, and is capable of stinging. First published Florida record: Emery 1895. (Deyrup, Davis & Cover, 2000.)

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a mutualist for the aphid Aphis gossypii (a trophobiont) (Idechiil et al., 2007; Saddiqui et al., 2019).
  • This species is a mutualist for the aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa (a trophobiont) (Idechiil et al., 2007; Saddiqui et al., 2019).

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Source: antkeeping.info.



Additional images can be found on the species category page.

Images from AntWeb

Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0059100 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0059100 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0059100 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0059100 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0059100. Photographer Erin Prado, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0102404 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102404 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102404 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102404 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0102404. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMUK, London, UK.
Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0102737 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102737 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102737 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102737 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0102737. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.
Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0125127 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0125127 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0125127 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0125127 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0125127. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0135255 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0135255 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0135255 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0135255 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0135255. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0064305 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064305 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064305 profile 2.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064305 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064305 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0064305. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0064306 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064306 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064306 profile 2.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064306 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0064306 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0064306. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0102736 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102736 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102736 profile 2.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102736 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0102736 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0102736. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.
Tetramorium bicarinatum casent0173283 head 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0173283 profile 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0173283 profile 2.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0173283 profile 3.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0173283 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium bicarinatum casent0173283 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0173283. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CDRS, Galapagos, Ecuador.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • bicarinatum. Myrmica bicarinata Nylander, 1846b: 1061 (w.q.) U.S.A. Forel, 1891b: 151 (m., misidentified as guineense); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1954d: 449 (l., misidentified as guineense); Wheeler, W.M. 1924c: 136 (gynandromorph, misidentified as guineense). Combination in Tetramorium: Mayr, 1862: 740; Bolton, 1977: 94. Junior synonym of Formica guineensis Fabricius, 1793: 357 (now in Pheidole): Mayr, 1862: 740. Revived from synonymy and senior synonym of cariniceps (and its junior synonym kollari), modesta Smith, reticulata: Bolton, 1977: 94. [Note. The names cariniceps, kollari and reticulata had previously been incorrectly synonymised with guineensis Fabricius by Roger, 1862c: 293; modesta Smith was wrongly synonymised with guineensis by Donisthorpe, 1932c: 463.] See also: Bolton, 1979: 164; Hita Garcia & Fisher, 2011: 18.
  • cariniceps. Myrmica cariniceps Guérin-Méneville, 1852: 79 (w.) DOMINICA. Combination in Tetramorium: Roger, 1861b: 171. Senior synonym of kollari: Roger, 1861b: 171. Junior synonym of guineense: Roger, 1862c: 293; of bicarinatum: Bolton, 1977: 94.
  • kollari. Myrmica kollari Mayr, 1853c: 283 (w.q.m.) AUSTRIA. Junior synonym of cariniceps: Roger, 1861b: 171.
  • modesta. Myrmica modesta Smith, F. 1860b: 108 (w.) INDONESIA (Batjan I.). [Unresolved junior primary homonym of modesta Foerster, above.] Combination in Tetramorium: Donisthorpe, 1932c: 463. Junior synonym of guineense: Donisthorpe, 1932c: 463; of bicarinatum: Bolton, 1977: 94.
  • reticulata. Myrmica reticulata Smith, F. 1862b: 33 (w.) PANAMA. Combination in Tetramorium: Mayr, 1862: 740. Junior synonym of guineense: Roger, 1862c: 293; of bicarinatum: Bolton, 1977: 94.

The following notes on F. Smith type specimens have been provided by Barry Bolton (details):

Myrmica modesta

Three worker syntypes (2 on one card, 1 on another) in Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Labelled “Bac 19.”

Two other specimens, labelled “Gil. 13,” are also present.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Type Material

  • Myrmica bicarinata: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s) (apparently lost), California, United States.



Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011 ) - HL 0.760–0.910 (0.848); HW 0.655–0.810 (0.740); SL 0.510–0.625 (0.575); EL 0.185–0.220 (0.201); PW 0.480–0.580 (0.532); WL 0.940–1.120 (1.037); PSL 0.175–0.240 (0.208); PTL 0.230–0.290 (0.262); PTH 0.260–0.330 (0.299); PTW 0.235–0.300 (0.264); PPL 0.220–0.280 (0.247); PPH 0.250–0.315 (0.292); PPW 0.295–0.365 (0.329); CI 85–89 (87); SI 75–80 (78); OI 26–28 (27); PSLI 22–26 (24); PeNI 46–52 (50); LPeI 84–93 (88); DPeI 96–106 (101); PpNI 59–66 (62); LPpI 81–91 (85); DPpI 128–139 (133); PPI 120–132 (124) (23 measured).

Head distinctly longer than wide (CI 85–89). Anterior clypeal margin with distinct median impression. Frontal carinae strongly developed, ending shortly before posterior head margin. Antennal scrobes weakly developed, narrow, shallow, and posterior and ventral margins never differentiated, as long as frontal carinae. Antennal scapes of moderate length, not reaching posterior margin of head (SI 75–80). Eyes relatively large (OI 26–28), with 11 to 14 ommatidia in longest row. Mesosomal outline dorsally flat, metanotal groove absent. Propodeal spines medium-sized to long (PSLI 22–26). Propodeal lobes small, triangular, and acute. Petiolar node rectangular nodiform, anterior and posterior faces roughly parallel, anterodorsal and posterodorsal angles at about same height, in dorsal view weakly longer than wide to weakly wider than long (DPeI 96–106), in lateral view higher than long (LPeI 84–93). Postpetiole in profile roughly rounded and higher than long (LPpI 81–91), in dorsal view distinctly wider than long (DPpI 128–139). Postpetiole in profile less voluminous than petiolar node, in dorsal view always distinctly wider than petiole (PPI 120–132). Mandibles distinctly longitudinally striate. Clypeus longitudinally rugose, usually with three strong rugae. Most of head with reticulate-rugose sculpturation, area between frontal carinae from posterior clypeal margin to posterior eye margin irregularly rugose with few cross-meshes; ground sculpturation on head weak and faint. Mesosoma and waist segments reticulate-rugose without ground sculpture. Gaster with basigastral costulae on the first tergite, remainder completely unsculptured, smooth, and shiny. All dorsal surfaces of head, mesosoma, waist segments, and gaster with numerous long, standing hairs; hairs on antennal scapes and tibiae appressed to suberect. Head, mesosoma, waist segments, and legs yellowish orange to orange brown, gaster always much darker, usually dark brown to blackish brown.

Type Material

Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) -

Syntype workers, queen, U.S.A., California, 1840 [types lost, see Bolton 1977:94].

Myrmica cariniceps Holotype worker, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Santo Domingo Island, 19.IV.1850, (A. Salle) (ZSM) [examined].

Myrmica kollari Syntype workers, queen, male, AUSTRIA, Vienna, in hothouses in botanical gardens (NMW) [examined].

Myrmica modesta Syntype workers, INDONESIA, Batjan Island, (A.R. Wallace) (OUMNH) [examined].

Myrmica reticulata Syntype workers, PANAMA, (R.W. Stretch) and UNITED KINGDOM, England, Exeter, botanic gardens, (Parfitt) (BMNH) [examined].


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